Our time in Lima didn’t start out very well, with John having a run-in with the police twice in as many days. Firstly, after arriving from the night bus, we went to the hostel we had booked over the phone. Stupidly we hadn’t checked TripAdvisor and it was an absolutely horrible place. It was filthy, damp, unorganised and no way were we going to stay there. We spent the morning trying to find somewhere else (which was difficult, most places were fully booked) and when we did, John went back to collect our luggage. Unfortunately, there was a disagreement and they insisted on us paying for a whole night. When John refused, they got the police involved and told them all sorts of lies, that we had breakfast there (wouldn’t touch it), we showered there (wouldn’t step foot in that filthy shower) and slept there (beds were unmade and dirty – no thank you). As John wisely decided he didn’t want to have a run-in with the police in Peru, he ended up paying most of the room rate, even though we only stored our bags there for a few hours.
On day two, we had another unfortunate incident. Our youngest was being an absolute nightmare, having a huge temper tantrum and not being at all reasonable. We put him on the balcony for a minute to calm down (perfectly safe balcony) but just as we did that, a police car went by and insisted to speak to John and get his passport number so they could write up a report. Luckily, they were friendly enough and didn’t seem to want to take this any further (after about 45 minutes of pretty good diplomacy from the hostel owner).
The rest of our time in Lima, we looked at some of the old churches and convents in the old town and visited the Spanish Inquisition Museum. All fairly interesting, but nothing spectacular. The other days we visited places that were interesting for the children. We visited the local Zoo in Parque de las Leyendas. The zoo was alright, but very spread out and no maps available. We were constantly wondering where the heck we were. There were good local food options in the zoo, some interesting old ruins in the park and some lovely areas to play for the children. The entrance fee is very reasonable and I would certainly recommend it for a day out with children.
We also went to the Parque de las Reservas, which has a multitude of marvellous, huge fountains which are really a joy to see, especially at night. From Wednesday to Sunday they do a light show with music at 7.15 and 8pm and it is really fantastic. One fountain is like a tunnel and another dares you to run to the middle without getting wet. It is hilarious to see people to try and run through and most of them get absolutely soaked. We were cowards and didn’t try, in our defence it was quite cold and we didn’t have any spare clothes with us.
As a special treat to the children we went to Divercity, an indoor children’s attraction. It is basically a town built for children. The entrance fee is a bit pricey but it is very well done. They get their own bank account with bank card and they can earn cash by working as a firefighter, ambulance driver, gas(wo)man and other professions. They can then spend their money by going rock climbing, get their nails done or take the bus. Parents are only visitors and are shooed to the coffee shop and let the kids get on with it. Our children absolutely loved it.
Our next stop was Cusco (for Machu Picchu) and because it is an 21-hour bus ride we decided to fly. A mistake in hindsight but I will you about that in our next post.